In this article, we show you a real-world case study on the implementation of Zimbra Open Source Edition and Zextras Suite for a European SaaS service provider that specializes in providing services to government, educational and medical institutions. They provide their own cloud solutions and serve over 21,000 email accounts for over 200 different domains. In order to modernize the IT infrastructure, wanting to provide the end user with high-tech and secure products, provide reliable mobile synchronization, manage file storage and provide multitenancy, it was decided to implement Zimbra Open Source Edition and the full Zextras Suite.
- Zimbra Open Source Edition is a reliable mail server with high performance collaboration features. To know more about it, you can read the article “ What is Zimbra “ from our blog.
- Zextras Suite allows you to enhance and expand your Zimbra OSE experience with a variety of additional features.
The implementation of Zimbra and Zextras took place in several stages:
- development of a modernization plan (data backup, new storage configuration)
- software installation
- creating backup storage, new life storage configuration
We are going to show you what we got in the end after the implementation of all the stages.
Infrastructure Design: Platform
To improve performance, the partner installed a Zimbra Collaboration multi-server of 15 servers. They are all hosted in Amazon’s EC2:
- 1 Mailboxd + Master LDAP
- 4 Mailboxd
2 Proxy + LDAP Replica + MTA (specialized)
- 3 Inbound MTA + AS / AV
- 4 Outbound MTA
- 1 Outbound MTA (“on domain” for batch sending)
With Zextras Backup and Zextras Powerstore compression and deduplication, extreme volume optimization is possible. The total “user” maiboxes quota was 15.5TB, while the actual total size of the main volumes is 1.8 TB, and the actual total size of the secondary volumes is 9 TB. This means saving 30% of the disk space. Secondary volumes contain emails that are retained for more than 90 days and are saved as Amazon S3 chunk data with huge savings in storage costs. Backup takes up a total of 9TB, with 32 days of retention after deletion (preserving non-linear growth – so in this particular case it could be increased to 90 days without even doubling the backup size).
Infrastructure Design: Storage
Data is stored on Amazon EBS disks. Amazon EBS allows you to create storage volumes and attach them to Amazon EC2 instances. After the volumes are mounted, you can create a file system on them, start databases, or use in any other way. Amazon EBS volumes are located in specific Availability Zones, within which they are automatically replicated to protect information against hardware failure. All EBS volume types have the same robust snapshot capabilities and 99.999% availability.
Storage is managed through the Zimbra Store and Zextras Powerstore, which provide both storage tiering and EC2 interoperability of Amazon EC2 blocks. The Zextras Powerstore Module allows you to manage multiple volumes and HSM policies through the Zextras Management Zimlet, fully integrated into the Zimbra Control Panel for efficient storage management.
- Primary volume on local drivers (GP2 General Purpouse SSD – Amazon EBS)
- Secondary volume on Amazon S3 blocks
- Backup on local drivers (GP2 General Purpouse SSD – Amazon EBS)
- Compression: Primary: NO | Secondary: Auto | Backup: Yes
- Deduplication: Primary: Periodic | Secondary: Auto | Backup: Yes
Detailed information on using Storage:
Final quota: 4.3 TB
Primary volume: 367 GB
Backup: 2.7TB (~ 38% compression)
Final quota: 4.1 TB
Primary volume: 371 GB
Backup: 2.5TB (~ 40% compression)
Total quota: 4.4TB
Primary capacity: 268GB
Backup: 2.4TB (~ 46% compression)
Final quota: 1.9 TB
Primary volume: 349 GB
Backup: 1.1TB (~ 43% compression)
Total quota: 775 GB
Primary volume: 419 GB
Backup: 379GB (~ 52% compression)
Final quota: 15.5 TB
Final primary volume: 1.8 TB
Final S3 block size: 9 TB
Final backup volumes: 9 TB
Customers of a SaaS provider also often require their IT staff to have permission to set up their domain. This was implemented using the administrative delegation of the Zextras Admin zimlet. The same module allows you to define limits for a domain based on a contract with a partner and easily view the actions of delegated administrators under European law.
SaaS provider costs have decreased significantly. Zimbra Open Source Edition + Zextras Suite have reduced their server space. Users now have the ability to use multitenant software.
You can download and try Zextras Suite from Zextras website.